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For COVID Death Toll, a 'Staggering' New Milestone

3 million have died globally from the coronavirus
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2021 5:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – The global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million people on Saturday amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil and India. The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal, per the AP. It's bigger than Chicago, and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined. And the true number is believed to be significantly higher because of possible government concealment and the many cases overlooked in the early stages of the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019. When the world back in January passed the bleak threshold of 2 million deaths, immunization drives had just started in Europe and the US. Today, they're underway in more than 190 countries, though progress in bringing the virus under control varies widely.

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Worldwide, deaths are on the rise again, running at around 12,000 per day on average, and new cases are climbing, too, eclipsing 700,000 a day. In Brazil, where deaths are running at about 3,000 per day, accounting for one-quarter of the lives lost worldwide in recent weeks, the crisis has been likened to a "raging inferno" by one WHO official. The situation is similarly dire in India, where cases spiked in February after weeks of steady decline, taking authorities by surprise. "This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, where we have proven control measures," says Maria Van Kerkhove, one of the World Health Organization's leaders on COVID-19. Progress in the US, meanwhile, has been patchy, and new hot spots—most notably Michigan—have flared up in recent weeks. Still, deaths in the US are down to about 700 per day on average, plummeting from a mid-January peak of about 3,400. Much more here, including on global vaccination efforts.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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